Posts Tagged ‘ARKONA’

ELUVEITIE @ MANDELA HALL, BELFAST

November 21st, 2014

Eluveitie, Arkona and Skálmöld

Mandela Hall Belfast

November 14th 2014

Review by Melanie Brehaut

Photography by Jamie Hunter https://www.facebook.com/Jrhunterphotography

Eluveitie

Deep in the autumnal gloom (read: rain) in the heart of Belfast, the last thing one would expect was a gig featuring not one, but THREE languages other than English. Right? Well, that was exactly what punters got when they ventured out on a rather meh Friday night in November.

First off the bat were Icelandic metallers Skálmöld. With their new album ‘Með Vættum’ released this very day, the band were in pugnacious form, rattling through their set of muscular Amon Amarth-esque Viking metal with barely a pause for breath. The rapidly filling room responded with roars of approval, as well as an (hilarious) impromptu performance of ‘happy birthday dear drummer’ on being informed of sticksman Jón Geir Jóhannsson’s big day – much to the band’s amusement.

Skalmold

Skalmold

Fist-pumping anthems such as Gleipnir, Med Fuglum and Kvaðning were fired out, giving their set a sort of ‘Viking movie soundtrack’ feel – if said soundtrack were heavily on steroids, that is. No airy-fairy pagan wispiness here tonight, no sir!

Vocalist Björgvin Sigurösson’s gruff, guttural tones were rather reminiscent of Rammstein’s Til Lindemann, with keyboardist Gunnar Ben adding a classy touch with his surprisingly melodic voice.

Skalmold

Skalmold

It’s clear from the roar of the crowd that greets Sigurösson’s grateful “it’s our first time in Belfast, so thank you for showing up” that this will undoubtedly be the first of many visits to this corner of the globe for Skálmöld.

Skalmold

Skalmold

Continuing the evening’s international theme, second support act Arkona featured Mongolian throat singing as their intro music and then strode onstage clad in traditional Russian garb – most startlingly, frontwoman Masha ‘Scream’ was draped in what appeared to be an entire husky skin.

Describing themselves as ‘Slavic pagan metal’ proves to be slightly misleading as they launched into a pummelling and surprisingly brutal beat – and proceeded to simply blow the crowd away.

Arkona

Arkona

Vocalist Masha was frankly mesmerising, switching from heartfelt clean vocals to a deep fearsome growl effortlessly. She resembled a fur-clad Axl Rose, all frantic energy and Joplin-esque intensity. The band themselves put in a spellbinding performance. Watching them is a completely immersive experience: they were raw and powerful, as well as being clearly talented musicians. And hey – it’s not every day that you see a mountainous, headbanging bagpiper! They must stand out like aliens in their native Russia…

Arkona

Arkona

The crowd responded with instinctive awe and joy, falling silent during brief a cappella moments from Masha (goosebumpy), clapping gleefully during snippets of traditional Russian music, and dutifully fulfilling Masha’s demand for a wall of death towards the end.

Their stunning hour-long set featured songs both old and new (particularly tracks from recent release ‘Reality’), with their bruising metal might accentuated by traditional Russian wind instruments. Set highlights were Serbia, Zakliate and a breathtaking Slav’sja, Rus’! In a word: extraordinary.

Arkona

Arkona

Such a stonking set prompted the obvious question: can Eluveitie top that? There wasn’t long to wait to find out: with a swirl of stormy sound effects overlaid with poetry, the Swiss natives trooped onstage with their various instruments and kicked off their set with confidence and aplomb.

With its bold lighting, special effects and the sheer number of members, it quickly becomes clear that this wasn’t merely a gig – this was a show, a spectacle.

The aforementioned instruments? How about a hurdygurdy, fiddle, tin whistle, mandolin and bagpipes, for starters? This assortment, when combined with the more traditional metal instruments (guitar, bass etc) brought Eluveitie’s sound excitingly to life tonight.

Eluveitie

Eluveitie

Singer Chrigel Glanzmann hit his stride immediately, giving a terrific ‘proper metal’ performance, with hurdygurdy player and co-vocalist Anna Murphy providing the vocal beauty to his brawn. Musically the band were quite clearly as tight as the proverbial drum, polished yet enthusiastic. It’s very obvious that they are a talented bunch individually – together, they are a force of nature. There were moments of almost ethereal elegance mixed in amongst the heaviness – a fact which could account for the almost fifty fifty split of males to females in the crowd.

Eluveitie

Eluveitie

Glanzmann interacted well with the crowd throughout. He delighted in telling them that “it’s so good to finally be back in Belfast!”, which elicited roars of approval. He described Eluveitie as simply a band that “sing songs about the ancient Celts” in ancient languages – in fact, when introducing new track The Call of the Mountains, Murphy gave five different languages to choose from as they have sung it in all of them!

Eluveitie

Eluveitie

Unsurprisingly, their set heavily featured songs from latest album ‘Origins’, including The Nameless, King, and the (literally) epic Vianna. These new numbers mixed well with older tracks such as the powerhouse of Dominion and a colossal Yarmuk which rounded out their set, to the air-punching elation of the crowd.

Eluveitie

Eluveitie

But wait! It aint over til it’s over! Reappearing onstage to a heroes welcome, they recruited Vladimir from Arkona to cover bagpiping duties (as their piper Päde Kistler had to leave the tour unexpectedly) and swung into a spirited version of fan favourite Helvetios, followed by the inevitable climax of Inis Mona, whose tribal beat and rare guitar solo resulted in pandemonium/en masse headbanging from the crowd. A brilliant ending to an exciting and dynamic set.

Eluveitie

Eluveitie

Tonight proved, if nothing else, that a metal gig doesn’t have to feature the local language to be thrilling and rousing. From Vikings to Russian pagans to Celts, tonight in Belfast punters witnessed a wealth of talent and legendary stories, as well as a plethora of traditional instruments in both the metal and classical sense. And hey. It’s not often that you see a beautiful hurdygurdy-playing brunette headbanging…

Eluveitie

Eluveitie

1/ Origins – Intro
2/ The Nameless
3/ Thousandfold
4/ AnDro
5/ King
6/ Virunus
7/ Carry the Torch
8/ The Call of the Mountains
9/ Omnos
10/ Grey Sublime Archon
11/ Inception
12/ Tarvos
13/ The Silver Sister

ENCORE

1/ Helvetios
2/ Inis Mona

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Therion @ The Islington Academy

January 2nd, 2014

Therion

@ The O2 Islington Academy

20th December 2013

Review & Photography by Graham Hilling

The Concrete Shell

Therion

Therion

It’s been a while since Swedens Therion played in the UK so I was expecting a good turnout for this evenings gig!
Read the rest of this entry »

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VALFREYA Joining ARKONA’s Canadian Spring Tour 2013

February 8th, 2013

Canadian Viking/folk metal band VALFREYA have announced that they will be direct support to ARKONA, on their Canadian Tour 2013 in April.
The 17 City Tour will sweep right across Canada starting with Western Dates; then the Tour will head East, hitting the Ontario and Quebec markets.

Formed in February of 2009, VALFREYA are a sextet based in Montreal, Canada.  The band’s charismatic frontwoman, Crook, has a vocal range of symphonic clean vocals to that of guttural growls.

Their debut album ‘Path to Eternity’ was released worldwide by Maple Metal Records last July.  ‘Path to Eternity’ was produced by the band, and was recorded, mixed and mastered in late 2011 at Silver Wings Studio in Montreal..

Vancouver based folk metallers SCYTHIA will be joining ARKONA and VALFREYA on the Western dates.

The Tour Dates are as follows:

18.04 – Edmonton, AB – The Pawn Shop
19.04 – Prince-George, BC – venue tba
20.04 – Vancouver, BC – venue tba
21.04 – Kamloops, BC – venue tba
22.04 – Vernon, BC – venue tba
23.04 – Calgary, AB – venue tba
24.04 – Winnipeg, MB – venue tba
25.04 – Thunder Bay, ON – venue tba
26.04 – Rouyn-Noranda, QC – venue tba
27.04 – Sherbooke, QC – Bar Le Magog
28.04 – Trois-Rivières, QC – venue tba
29.04 – Toronto, ON – venue tba
30.04 – Guelph, ON – venue tba
01.05 – Montreal, QC – Foufounes Électriques
02.05 – Quebec, QC – Bar L’agitée
03.05 – Rimouski, QC (without Valfreya) – venue tba
04.05 – Ste-Hyacinthe, QC – Bar Le Trash

All the details of the Tour can be viewed at this location:
https://www.facebook.com/events/374223099341577/?ref=22

VALFREYA have shared the stage with such bands as Korpiklaani, Moonsorrow, Tyr, Unexpect, Despised Icon, Nordheim, and many more on the Ontario & Quebec metal circuit, in their short existence.

The track listing for ‘Path to Eternity’ is:

  1. Path to Eternity
  2. Deity’s Grace
  3. Inferno
  4. Beyond Illusions
  5. Ocean’s Assault
  6. Confront Immensity
  7. Condemned World
  8. Alefest
  9. My Everlasting Star
  10. Glorious Death

VALFREYA is:
Crook – Lead Vocals
Graz’zt – Guitars, Vocals
Karhu – Guitars, Vocals
Pinch – Bass
Shark – Keyboards
Jotunn – Drums

Previously released videos for “Inferno” and “Alefest” can be viewed below:
Inferno: http://youtu.be/Ypu2t9yDmEU
Alefest: http://youtu.be/ACJJrLSy4_Y

For more info on VALFREYA visit here:
http://www.facebook.com/Valfreya.Metal

To view the flyer visit Maple Metal Records: www.maplemetalrecords.com

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